Vocational Rehabilitation Gives Marc New Hope

Marc Williams photo

FT. LAUDERDALE, FL – It was a case of mistaken identity that left Marc Williams with Post Traumatic Stress and Major Depressive Disorders. Marc is not shy about sharing his story. Driving home one evening, Marc pulled into a local park to place a phone call, and, unknowingly, was caught in the middle of a drug sting operation. When he stepped out of the car, he was attacked by law enforcement. “They grabbed me by my neck and head, and slammed my face and head on the concrete,” Marc recalls.

Before he knew what was happening, he heard the officers say, “wrong guy.” As quickly as they came, they were gone, leaving Marc on the ground bleeding. Months later, Marc still struggled to make sense of what happened, as he watched his life spiral out of control. Marc, who had been studying forensic psychology in college, had recently been accepted into the United States Army. Suddenly, he lost his house, his car and was no longer able to serve in the military. “I lost everything,” Marc says. “I was on the brink.”

After this traumatic event, Marc struggled to find his footing. Because he was unable to join the army as planned, his depression became even worse. His local commissioner referred him to Vocational Rehabilitation (VR), and VR Counselors Lynn Rupe and Kaleatha Downing helped Marc find the stability he needed.

“When I first met him, Marc was very fragile,” says Lynn. “If we weren’t in his life at the time that we were, he would have unraveled.” Lynn and VR worked to give Marc balance through mental restoration, psychotherapy, guidance and the service that meant the most to Marc, counseling. As he continued to focus on getting well, Marc found employment at A.R.E. Underground Construction. “They are so wonderful with him, as far as being accommodating,” says Lynn.

“Marc is happy at work and he’s happy to be able to work,” says Steve Wergheimer, A.R.E.’s CEO. “He always has a smile on his face and is always greeting people. He gets along with everyone.” Marc works in the construction yard, operating equipment. He also washes, paints and makes minor repairs to the equipment, something Steve says he does very well. Steve understands the Marc is still trying to get well and says that he is improving every day.

He’s been employed at A.R.E for more than two years now, and Marc says that frankly VR saved his life. “Without VR, I would have been dead,” he says. “Point blank, plain and simple, I would have been dead.”

Marc’s goal is to continue to make progress, and he is more than grateful to VR for getting him on the right track. “VR changed my life, because now I’m on the road where I need to be,” he says. “I have the tools, and I have the resources, and I really appreciate it.” And Marc definitely left his mark with both of his VR counselors. Kaleatha says, “Marc is an amazingly inspirational individual, whether he knows it or not. He’s very respectful, kindhearted and a motivated person. Marc was and still is capable of great things.”

Florida’s Vocational Rehabilitation program is committed to helping people with disabilities become part of America’s workforce. Our employer-focused website, FLJobConnections.com, allows businesses to search at no charge for employees who are ready to go to work, as well as to post available jobs. VR has 111 offices across Florida, and last year helped 5,018 Floridians with significant disabilities find or keep a job. For more information about VR and its services, call (800) 451-4327 or visit Rehabworks.org.